He died on Friday, his wife, Victoria, confirmed in a Facebook post.
“The Wicker Man” was Hardy’s feature film directorial debut, and one of only three that he would direct during his lifetime. The 1973 horror mystery tells the story of a police sergeant named Howie (Edward Woodward) who goes to the fictional island Summerisle to search for a missing girl. Christopher Lee and Diane Cilento also star.
Hardy would go on to write and direct the follow-up, “The Wicker Tree” which was released in 2011. Before that, we also directed the 1986 thriller “The Fantasist” and wrote the screenplay for the 1989 mystery “Forbidden Sun.”
In Variety‘s review of the 1973 film, the critic wrote, “… for sheer imagination and near-terror, [“The Wicker Man”] has seldom been equalled. In 2015, Hardy said he planned to make a third “Wicker Man” film as a tribute to its star, Lee.
The University of Malta — where the director had visited as recently as May, 2016 — wrote in a Facebook post, “We will always treasure our memory of these unique moments, and we thank you, Mr Hardy, for the wonderful gift you gave us.” The tribute added, “Robin Hardy’s Wicker Man will keep burning bright in the forests of our night. Its fire will endure.”